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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 16, 2014 12:30pm-2:31pm EST

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authority to open new markets to american farmers and manufacturers and to make sure that american goods are competing on an equal playing field nmgly. we will take up legislation to improve flexibility for working families so that parents can meet their responsibilities at work while still having the time that they need for their families at home. of course we'll take up legislation to address obamacare. the president's health care law is not only making our health care system worse, it's also hurting our already sluggish economy. senate republicans want to repeal and replace this law with real health care reforms, reforms that will actually lower costs and improve americans' access to care. in the meantime we will work to chisel away at the law's most damaging provisions, provisions like the medical device tax which has eliminated thousands of workers' jobs in this industry and is driving up the price of lifesaving medical devices like pacemakers and
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insulin pumps. and the 30-hour workweek provision which is forcing employers to cut workers' hours and wages in order to afford obamacare-mandated health care costs. we will also work to repeal the health care law's individual mandate. the federal government should not be in the business of forcing americans to buy a government-approved health insurance product. finally, republicans will tackle some of the big challenges that need to be addressed if we're going to put our country back on a path to long-term prosperity. we want to make our nation's costly and inefficient tax code fair and simpler for families and for businesses. we also intend to take up regulatory reform. recent regulations released by the president's e.p.a. illustrate just how pressing the need is to reform our country's out-of-control bureaucracy. just one of the recently proposed e.p.a. regulations the president's national energy tax
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would eliminate tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of jobs and devastate entire communities. no executive agency should be able to damage our economy like that or to destroy the livelihoods of so many hardworking americans. it's time to get america's regulatory agencies under control. madam president, republicans heard what the american people said in november, and we are not going to let them down. january 6 marks the start of a new era in the united states senate. the republican majority will focus on the american people's priorities, creating jobs, growing the economy, and increasing opportunity for middle-income american families. madam president, we hope that the democrats will join us. i yield the floor.
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mr. merkley: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the senator from ohio be allowed to speak directly after the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: thank you, madam president. i rise today to address a key unfinished piece of business that is extremely important to the klamath basin of southern oregon. the klamath basin act has not been enacted here at the close of this congress. and in that failure, congress is
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missing a critical opportunity to put in place a locally developed solution to a longtime water dispute. this failure creates a substantial risk of catastrophic consequences for our ranching and farming families, risks that were entirely avoidable. let me start by telling you what an amazing place the klamath basin is. klamath basin is one of the natural wonders of the american west. it has one of the biggest salmon runs pacific and part of the largest continuous blocks of wild rivers and wild lands on the pacific coast. it is one of the most important migration coast in the pacific coast fly away for bird migration. it is an important place for duck hunters up and down the west coast. the klamath river itself charts
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a path to the south of crater lake, an amazing natural wonder, here the crater created by a very large cascade volcanic mountain that blew its top. and the california red woods to the south. it connects the great basin geology, the cascade volcanoes and deep and majestic river canyons along its way. and amidst this natural wonder, in this basin lies some of the most fertile and agricultural land in the northwest, generating $600 million a year in barley, potatoes, onions, mint and, as you can see in this photo, in beef. the settlement of the klamath basin by pioneers from the east and subsequent development of farming and ranching in the klamath basin has a storied history. the first white explorer thought to enter the area was john
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freeman during the mexican american war. the first white settler was the pioneering applegate family, for the final stages of the oregon trail. agriculture was of course a major focus of settlement. and even some of the more recently developed agricultural lands played a key moments in american history. when part of of the klamath recreational department was offered by the federal government and offered as homesteading opportunities for veterans returning from world war ii. this region has a history long before settlers for the east came to it. it was already inhabited by native communities that have lived in the klamath basin for 10,000 years and who have a deep connection to this amazing place. the klamath and modack tribes have hiforts with histories of e eruption of a volcano thousands
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of years ago. the hupas talk about having fire pits that have been carbonated been in use many thousands of years ago. in the klamath county museum there is on display the oldest sandals in the world that we have ever discovered made of sagebrush. the early history of settlement from the east led quickly to conflict. john fremont's expedition lead to a battle with the klamath tribes. the opening of the apple gate trail through the basin led to con fluct with the moduck tribes and settlers along the river. it led to persecution of tribes and led to a standoff with an army that held a few dozen modoc families overseas. unfortunately for too much of recent history, conflict has
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continued to define the klamath basin. in the 1950's the federal government terminated federal recognition of the klamath tribes converting their reservation into a combination of natural forest lands and private lands. in the 1970's conflict erupted between the lower river tribes and managers of the tribes' treaty tribes they have harvested for thousands of years. soon after farmers, ranchers tribes initiated litigation over water rights and that litigation has been going intensely until very recently. tribes want to be assured of their rights to continue fishing practices that they have passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. farmers and ranchers want to be sure that they will have water they need to sustain their operations that the families depend on for success.
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for decades the tension over water has been accentuated in times of drought culminating most famously in a standoff in 2001 that made national news. during that 2001 drought irrigation water for the klamath recognize clamation project -- reclaimation product was shut off. thousands of people gathered in klamath falls in sympathy with the farmers. there was civil disobedience and people were worried about the possibility of violence. vice president cheney intervened and guaranteed water abilities. meanwhile agriculture was still damaged. families saw major losses and some had to sell their farms. there were no real winners. at the time many people thought these issues were inl -- intractable, that arguments and lawsuits would continue interminably perhaps for generations to come. but a number of years ago a
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group of leaders in the community had the boldness to start rethinking how they framed their quest for water and the water wars. their briefing to me was one of the first briefings i received as a u.s. senator, and i was surprised, surprised to hear from individuals representing parts of the community that had often been bitter enemies together, and they were talking about sitting down and hammering out a different vision for the future to replace the lose-lose water battles of the past with something different. greater reliability of water for farmers and ranchers and protection for the tribes of their fishing rights and better health for the stream. leaders from many different parts of the community sitting down together because, as they said to me, you know, senator,
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the only folks who are winning right now are the lawyers. and they wanted to change that. i was skeptical that groups that had battled for so long could sit down and work out an agreement. as we say in the west, whiskey, that's for drinking. and water, that's for fighting. but these folks said we are going to pursue a different path. and i pledged that if they were able to develop a solution, i would do everything i could at the federal level to help implement it. while they defied the expectation by coming up with a remarkable plan, they solved an array of complex problems. the irrigators commit to reducing the total amount of water they take from the river through a variety of conservation practices. the working collaborative with the community and the tribes to restore habitat. in exchange, they get certainty
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and predictability for guaranteed amounts of water. the tribes and conservation groups and fishing organizations agree to stop challenging these irrigators' water allocations. in exchange they get a community partnering to restore natural resources that are of cultural, economic importance to the tribe, and to help them reacquire some of the land they lost 50 years ago. complementing all of this and augmenting the natural resorceress toargs is a plan to refourants kuwaited dams and open -- four antiquated dams and open up new ones for fish. the private utilities that owns these dams agrees that the best business decision to remove these dams. so this is a win-win situation, or actually a win-win-win-win situation. so let me give an example of this in terms of water looked at from the perspective of the agricultural community.
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here we have in the variety of years 2010 down through 2014 what the actual deliveries were in acre feet, thousands of acre feet, 189,000 acres feet and what they would have received under the settlement, substantially more. substantially more in 2011, substantially more in 2013. so this also provides more water for the refuge. and we can see a change of positive water for the refuge as well. so this is why everyone's coming to the table finding a path that works better during difficult times for all of the major goals of water management in the region. the deal is a lifeline for farming and for ranching. tens of thousands of additional acre feet added, and in some cases 100,000 additional acre
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feet of water in some years. at the same time stream flows for fish removing obstacles to migration of the fish, improving habitat, it's really truly a remarkable deal, and community leaders not only developed a visionary agreement, but they remain dedicated to this agreement during some difficult drought years, 2010 and 2013 and low water in 2014. so they could have been shattered. the coalition could have been blown up by these difficult drought years, but instead they viewed it as reinforcing why they needed to come to an agreement to save the ranching and the farming and improve the fish and restore important provisions for the tribes. they stayed working together while we here in congress have not acted. and in addition, they worked on
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an additional agreement to bring in additional ranchers from the upper basin into the agreement, and that worked as well. they worked to dramatically reduce the cost of habitat restoration investments at thate original plan called for. they drafted a bill with no new spending. so the entire agreement was challenged by the litigation over water rights in that the adjudication of these water rights was finally completed and, for the most part, the klamath tribes were awarded water rights to time in memorial. that is a powerful, powerful tool, and the tribes could have walked away from the table. they could have taken this enormous control over water rights and said, the agreement hasn't been implemented. we're walking away, and we're going to use these water rights
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with maximum leverage. but they had created partnerships. they had pledged to work together as all of these groups had, advocating not just for themselves but for the collective future of the community and the collective stakeholders. and, quite frankly, this is a remarkable, remarkable development what was happened. awful thall of the stakeholder s sticking together. congress is key, however, to passing legislation that implements the provisions of this plan. it is time for congress to act. the senate did its work. the energy and natural resources committee held hearings under the leadership, first, of senator wyden and senator murkowski, and then under the leadership of senators landrieu and senator murkowski. senator murkowski, senator wyden and i were able to negotiate bipartisan revisions of the
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bill. we modified federal authority related to dam removal, requiring governors to sign off and giving congress a one-year period to take out a provision. the energy and natural resources committee voted the bill out of committee on a bipartisan basis. and the committee leaders have gone to work giving an even broader statement of support. the klamath chamber of commerce, the cham aght county farm bill, the cham aght county cattle men's association have endorsed the bill. the klamath falls city council and the oregon water resources congress has endorsed the bill. the senate has been ready to afnlgact. but the u.s. house of representatives has not. and so here we are in the last
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days of this congress unable to complete this bill. so today i am calling upon our leaders in the house and in the senate to work together to make this an item of immediate action when we start our new session in january. the tribe has held back on enforcing its water rights. each of the stakeholders have stayed together saying they were going to support the multiple provisions for themselves and their partners. but that cannot last forever. congress has to act to seal the deal. without cooperation, this vision, so carefully, diligently, and painfully constructed over years of involvement by community stakeholders, will fall apart. what that will do is put the entire farming and ranching community in great jeopardy.
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we could see hundreds of families lose their water in a matter of months due to congress' failure to act. this community has done everything right. they put aside longstanding tensions, long-standing conflicts. they set down, and they set down time and time and time again to work out these complicated provisions. they sought the help of the interior department, which came and signed off on the agreement. they sought the state government and the governor to come and sign off on the agreements. they solicited the local support. they put aside damaging rhetoric during times of intense drought over the last couple of years, and they hung together. they have done everything we could have ever asked a group to do to prepare for this legislation to be passed. and yet it has not been passed because the house of representatives has not been ready to act. we must not let this opportunity
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escape. we must come back in january with support from the senate and from the house and complete this deal. this opportunity might not come again. madam president, i ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to recognize that when in a region great work has been done to resolve a long-standing conflict and they need congress to step in and seal the deal, make the agreement real, implement the agreement, that we must give it the utmost attention and help make it happen for the health of the stream, for the welfare of the tribes, for the success of the farming community, for the condition of the conditions that make ranching a vital component of the klamath basening. for all of these reasons.
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so i certainly pledge to come back and work towards that end and look forward for us early next year to not be here on the floor lamenting the fact that we have failed to complete this agreement but to be here thanking all of those who came together to seize this critical opportunity. thank you very much, madam president. and i yield the floor to my colleague from ohio. mr. brown: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent that succeeding my remarks, the senator from hawaii be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to honor one of my best friends in the senate and a long, longtime public servant whom i greatly admire, john d. rockefeller iv.
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president johnson went to ohio university and said, "poverty hides its face behind a mask of affluence, but i call upon you to help me to get out there and unmask it, take that mask off the face of affluence, let the world see what we have, let the world do something about it." several months later, late that summer, jay rockefeller, john d. rockefeller iv, 27 years old, came to west virginia as a vista volunteer, well-educated, well-connected, jay rockefeller, of course, could have chosen any career that he wanted, but to him it was about public service. this year marks jay's 50th year in public service. he found himself in emmons, west virginia, a small town. jay didn't should shy away. he didn't keep his distance. he wanted to know the people he
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was going to be working with, and set out to do that. for two years he worked alongside the people of emmons. his work included dismantling and condemning a school and establishing emmons a community center. and jay never forget that. i was sitting here two weeks ago -- jay sits across the sil aisle from me. jay was saying, "going to emmons that set my moral compass. it gave me direction. where everything in my real life began, where i learned how little i knew about the problems people face. i was humbled by that lesson." he went on to say, "my time in emmons was transformative. it explains every policy i pursue, every vote i have cast. it was where my beliefs were
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bolted down, where my passion met my principle." 50 years ago jay learned those lessons. for 350 years as a vista volunteer, as a state legislature, as a senator from west virginia. he learned these beliefs. they were bolted down and he practiced those beliefs. in 1966, he was elected to the west virginia house. two years later jay had an opportunity that most people i know would have not refused. robert f. kennedy was killed, was assassinated. the senator from new york at that time, in june of 1968. the governor of new york, nelson rockefeller, jay rockefeller's uncle, offered that appointment to the united states senate. the governor ats points senators in most states. the governor offered that to jay rockefeller and his answer to
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his uncle was, "no, thank you, i want to earn a seat someday in the united states senate." and that's what jay set out to do. he reminded us a few weeks ago that important undertakings can't be half-hearted. you have to commit with your whole self, almost like pushing a heavy rock uphill. with both of your hand, you push, because if you let up a split second, you and the rock are thrown backward into the abyss. jay had chance to approve that in this body over 20 years ago. he pushed that rock uphill to fight to protect retired coal miners promised health care benefits. it is easy for members of this senate who have good titles, who are well-dressed, who don't have to go out and listen to the public very much --ed and i think many of my colleagues don't go out and listening to the public very much. it is easy for people to forget union or nonunion coal miners. he called this the greatest
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moment of his career, he was going to do whatever it took 22 years ago over christmas, new years, whatever it took to make sure his colleagues didn't leave town before passing the 1992 coal act. more than 200,000 coal miners and their families have kept the benefits they were promised. whatever it took, according to jay rockefeller, to make sure those benefits were there. he spearheaded efforts to ensure workplace safety. i've talked to jay after coal mining disasters, after miners are killed in one of the most treacherous, difficult, and dangerous jobs we can imagine, coal mining, i've talked to jay after coal mining disasters when workers are killed. and i can see the pain in his face because he knows people that work in the mines. he's listened to them. he goes out, as abraham lincoln used to say, when lincoln was -- when his staff wanted him to stay in the white house and win the war and free the slaves and re-serve the union, lincoln used to say, i've got to go out and
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get my public opinion bath. jay, a grandson of privilege, understood that he served the public best when he got his public opinion vest. when he went out and listened to peesm he fought against unfair trade policies, fought against unfair trade practices, fought against policies that shift jobs overseas, reinvigorated the steel caucus, fighting for an industry that clearly has been victimized by unfair trade practices. most importantly in jay's career and the thing i think he's most proud of, was another lesson he learned in emmons, west virginia. learned that many of the school-analled children had never been to a doctor, never seen a dentist because their families didn't have the money. because of that jay made accessible, affordable health care for children part of his lifelong mission. he believes that health care is a right, not a privilege. he championed medicaid
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expansion. he championed this new health care law. it has jay rockefeller's fingerprints all over it. that's why hundreds of thousands of people in my state are grateful to jay rockefeller because hundreds of thousands of people in ohio now have health insurance that didn't have it before. hundreds of thousands of families have benefited for a couple of decades because their children have health insurance -- again, because of jay rockefeller. in 1997, he devoted -- he devoted much of his time and career at that point to help write the children's health insurance program, chip. because of chip, 8 million children across this country, some of them in emmons, west virginia, some of them in my hometown of mansfield, ohio, now have access to health care, health care they would not have otherwise. and he continues that fight always on health care. i want to close with this: i have a seen a lot of senators come and go. i've seen a lot of members of congress come and go. i have a seen a lot of public
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officials come and go. most of them -- there is not, madam president -- there is not a shortage of humility in these jobs. members of the house, members of the senate sometimes we're a little puffed up about our tilts, abou titles, about the power that many of our colleagues shall that many of us have, are kawpt in the twhai we're treated, that people are often obsequious to members of congress and senators and awful that. but what really stands out to me and it's even more remarkable when you consider his family, and what he came from, is jay rockefeller's humility. and here's the best example i think. i found out almost by accident what jay as a member of the veterans' committee, one of the things that jay rockefeller would do regularly during his time in the senate, he would send all the staff away, he would send the press away, and he would go to someone's home or a community center or a rec
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center or labor hall and listen to veterans stories. he would take notes and help those individually that might need help. but most importantly, he was listening to their stories. and it reminds me of another story from abraham lincoln. lincoln -- lincoln was surround -- lincoln's staff watched him listen during one of his public opinion baths to a number of people that wanted to talk to him that were pushing him on something that mattered to them personally. and his staff wanted to send them away. and lincoln said, no, i'm not going do that. and lincoln said, ordinary citizens outside the white house or anywhere else the president of the united states might have been, and lincoln said, they don't want much. they get so little. each one considers his business of great importance. i -- i know how i should feel if i were in their place. and i could see jay rockefeller meeting with veterans, many of whom were struggling, many of
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whom had never been thaipgd for their service. many of them who were suffering from war-time injuries from their time in the service, coming back to west virginia and eking out a living. i could see jay rockefeller saying the same thing. they don't want much. they get so little. each one considers his business of great importance. i know how i should feel if i were in their place. going back two weeks ago to jay's farewell speech across the aisle at this desk, he called upon us to remember that our north star must always be the real needs of the people we serve. jay used his farewell speech to exhort us to do better on behalf of minors, on behalf of veterans, on behalf of single parents, on behalf of children, on behalf of sick people, people who don't always get a fair shake in life. he found his north star in public service, a career he chose because he wanted a mission to complete, a cause to believe in, a dream to follow.
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he found that mission, he found that cause, he found that dream in emmons, west virginia, in 1964. it never left him. that's my friend jay rockefeller. and for all of that, we are so grateful. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. ms. hirono: madam president, i rise today in support of the nomination of sarah saldana to serve as director of u.s. immigration and customs enforcement, better known as i.c.e. before i proceed, i would like to thank the good senator from ohio for his tributary remarks regarding jay rockefeller, an uncommon man of the people. prior to supporting ms. saldana's nomination in the judiciary committee, i did have
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a chance to meet with her. growing up in a large family near our southern border in corpus christi, texas, ms. saldana managed to overcome hardship and become the first latina u.s. attorney in texas history. sarah saldana is fully qualified to serve as i.c.e. director. she is a senior federal law enforcement official for a border state district that spans almost 100,000 miles. ms. saldana has been on the ground in texas and fully understands the complexities and challenges we face with our immigration system. republicans and democrats agree that our immigration system is broken. until recently, we also agreed, republicans and democrats alike, that sarah saldana needed to be confirmed as the director of i.c.e. however, now republicans are playing politics with this
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nomination to a critical homeland security agency. i.c.e. is responsible for important law enforcement issues that makes us all safer and has been without a permanent director for over a year. i.c.e.'s 19,000 people are responsible for enforcement of our immigration laws, for drug interdiction, for fighting child exploitation and for keeping us safe from national security threats. the senate needs to do its job and let sarah saldana get to work as the permanent director of i.c.e. i understand that some of my colleagues on the republican side now oppose sarah saldana because of the president's executive order on immigration. president obama's executive action allows millions of fathers, mothers and students to step out of the shadows, pass background checks, park legally
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and pay their taxes. the president's action is rooted in the reality that our immigration system is broken and that we need to exercise prosecutorial discretion on who to go after with our limited resources. as director of i.c.e., it is miss saldana's responsibility to focus on homeland security resources, on deporting felons and other criminals who have crossed our border. it is simply not possible for the federal government to remove all 11 million undocumented persons in this country. that's another point on which most republicans and democrats agree. we have to prioritize the resources we have. that's what the president's order does. it prioritizes deporting families -- excuse me. privatizes deporting felons, not families. let me repeat that. deporting felons.
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that's what we need to do, not breaking apart families. president obama's action is grounded on precedent and executive powers. every single president since eisenhower has used executive action to provide discretionary relief from deportation. nonetheless, the president's critics have relentlessly attacked the legitimacy of his action. some of my colleagues have emphasized that we must enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders in their opposition to miss saldana. ironically, my republican colleagues are opposing the nomination of the director of an agency responsible for these very things -- security our border and enforcing our immigration laws. and some republicans don't even want to fund the department of homeland security at all. those who are concerned about immigration enforcement and border security should ask themselves how does opposing
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sarah saldana's nomination and putting d.h.s. funding in question make our borders more secure? how do these actions ensure effective enforcement of our laws? they do not. if you want to truly and permanently address our broken immigration system, we need congress to work together to pass comprehensive immigration reform which the american people overwhelmingly support. it has been over a year since comprehensive immigration reform was passed on the senate floor. congress must continue working to pass commonsense, humane reforms that puts families first. as the president himself has said, executive action does not replace congressional action, so those in congress concerned wit. we need to pass comprehensive reform, but in the meantime, we need to confirm sarah saldana so she can get on with the job of
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i.c.e. i urge my colleagues to vote yes on her nomination. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that all remaining time time -- that the senate now recess until 2:15 p.m., that following the 2:30 votes, the clerk report executive calendar number 1150, the blinken nomination, and the time until 5:00 p.m. be equally divided in the usual form with all other provisions of the previous order remaining in effect. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m. >> the senate working on executived judicial branch nominations today. shortly after they return from weekly party lunches, senators
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will vote on sarah saldana's nomination to serve as head of i.c.e. and anthony lincoln to serve as deputy secretary of state. live at 2:15 eastern here on c-span2. and news this morning former florida governor jeb bush actively exploring the possibility of running for president in 2016. the younger brother of the 43rd president is considered a leading candidate for the republican nomination. in his facebook statement he said, quote: in the coming months, i hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of america. jub bush spoke recently in washington, d.c. where he talked about a range of issues. this was hosted by the "wall street journal"'s ceo council. it's 45 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> you want me on the left, jerry?
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>> yeah. governor bush is on the left, i mean -- to your right, that's true. to their right, so it's okay. and is you brought your coffee, so you can get overcaffeinated as we talk, that will be good for the optics. thank you for being with us. governor bush has got to go back to miami where you'll miss the cold wave by leaving just in time tonight. thanks for being with us. >> thanks, jerry. >> a lot of familiar faces in the room to you, i suspect. to get ready for this conversation, i read some speeches you've been giving lately and discovered that one of the significant developments of 2014 was that you became a grandfather for the third time, and you told me at dinner you're about to be a grandfather for the fourth time. so congratulations. >> yeah. that was in my speeches? >> it was in one. [laughter] and i can tell you, i had the privilege of covering the -- when i tell people in my bureau that i covered the bush white
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house, they think i mean your brother. and this is a sign of age, i say, no, president h.w. bush. >> jerry, can i bring up a point of privilege and pride which relates to my dad? my first granddaughter, jeb and sandra's granddaughter, is now 3 years old. she's trilingual, more or less. her name is georgia helena walker bush. [laughter] and her nickname in our family is 41 -- [laughter] and georgia, georgia represents the new america that i know at least on the editorial side of "the wall street journal" they believe in and i am passionate about as well. the new america is an america that doesn't have hyphens, an america where your work and your effort is your definition, not,
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you know, some identity political form of things. so in political life today, georgia would be a canadian-iraqi-mexican-texas- ame rican. she's a -- >> wait, wait, wait, texans are still americans, aren't they? >> >> barely. [laughter] >> so i'm a texan by birth, my wife is from mention eco, by -- sandra is a canadian by birth, jeb was born in florida, sandra's parents were born in iraq. and that is the america that we should aspire to, not the one where we're, like, dividing ourselves up to find where we're different, but the fact that you're from a different place or you've got a different origin is totally irrelevant. so georgia, when she fills out the form when she's 21, 18 years from now, she'll say not applicable, and that'll be good news for our country, to be honest with you. so enough of family life. [applause]
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>> well, in reading those speeches -- and i actually did -- i was struck by something you said a couple of times in recent months when you've been talking to groups. you said this, you said this nation is experiencing a crisis of opportunity. >> right. >> tell me what you meant by that and what it means for people in washington. >> well, i think we're missing the opportunity to take advantage of our skill sets, of our strengths. we focus on our weaknesses, we fight over those. there's massive gridlock, really unprecedented gridlock. and yet this is the most extraordinary country in the world. this country is so much better when you hear the director general of the imf talk about the places in the world, the united states should not be in any category remotely close to a problem kind of country. we have everything that is necessary; abundant in natural resources, the most innovative country in the world, the most
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creative place in the world, work labor laws that are unique in the developed world, a big place full of chances to expand, the history of productivity. all this stuff has just been cast aside temporarily, and we're moping around like we're france, with all due respect. [laughter] and, i mean, the french have a lot of things going on in their lives. i don't want to be disrespectful. they have a lot of interesting things and great things, but we're not france, for crying out loud. and we're missing -- the crisis of opportunity is we're not seizing the moment, we're not aspiring to be young and dynamic again. and if we fixed a few really big, substantive things -- not little things -- we could be american again. >> so which big, substantive things? >> you want 'em in order of importance or -- >> your choice. >> i'll give you five right off the bat, and then we get to the bigger one.
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but i'd say an energy policy based on american innovation and north american resources and all in. all in. no, you know, we should be energy secure with mexico, canada and the united states within five years. if we aspire to that, we could do it. a regulatory system that was based on the 21st century economy, not the 19th or 20th century where we're putting rules, old, complicated rules on top of old, complicated rules creating more complexity than perhaps any developed country in the world. we've lost our dynamic nature because -- and i've asked this question of a lot of people that have made it. most of you, all of you have. could you do what you've done particularly if you talk to entrepreneurs, could you do what you've done starting over now? and a lot of people would admit that they couldn't because the barriers to be successful today are much more deeper and more complex. so figuring out a way to
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transform how we create rules around every aspect of human endeavor in a 21st century way is one of the great challenges. simplifying the tax code so that we take power away from washington and give it back to people to let them make decisions about how investments take place, not how washington wants. so if you want, you know, if you want a world where right-hand albanian -- left-hand albanian tax credits are the norm, then come to america because that's what we've got. we've got the most complicated tax code. rather than lowering taxes, eliminating as many deductions as possible to let freedom ring. that would be the third thing. the fourth thing i would say is immigration reform. because it is, it is something that is unique and special to this country. if we would create an economically-driven immigration system where we controlled our borders and there was certainty that that would happen and we
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moved away from family reunification being the sole driver or close to the sole driver of how people come to this country -- 75-80% of legal immigrants come through family petitioning -- and we dramatically expanded economic immigrants which we have the capability of doing, and that's not necessarily an ideological or partisan issue, we could, in essence p, create in america -- with a lot of other issues that have to go along with this -- we could create a country that would have the first 200 or 300,000 first round draft picks. we'd be like fred, you know? aren't you an owner of the -- trying to be an owner of a football team, aren't you? >> [inaudible] >> he still is. >> he's trying to forget that -- >> so you could be the equivalent of fred smith trying to be the owner of a football team. you could pick who you would want to come to this country, and they would come. and it would create economic vitality the likes of which people around here have no clue.
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this is an extraordinary country, and it's a missed opportunity not to do that. and finally, i think we need radical transformation of how we educate the next generation. it's not working. reform is important, but i'd say transformation should be the bigger argument, and we're not even close. i mean, here this is a place where i'm completely frustrated. so if you -- those five big things get us to a point where if we started doing some of those, then we could actually do the other big thing which is not going to happen anytime soon which is entitlement reform which we desperately need as well. no western, no developed country in the world has been able to achieve this, and if we do it, we'll be young, dynamic and emerging again rather than a developed country -- we'll be the first country in the world that will be a bric, but we'll have to change the acronym, and we'll have to be what do you call it? i don't know. we'll replace the r. it's not likely that russia
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under its current path will be a bric country. but we could be that which could be the first time in world history that could happen. and i think that's worth aspiring to because i hi it'll be the means by which we see rising income for the middle class again, and our spirits will be lifted and much less pessimistic about what the future looks like. >> let me pick up on two of those items, immigration and education, just quickly. so the reality is that the roadblock to comprehensive immigration reform in this town for the last year has been actually been, frankly, your party in the house. so where's the gap between what you just said and the reality on the legislative ground in washington which is that's why this hasn't happened? >> so you don't think when the president of the united states uses powers he may or may not have but clearly knows that it will be more than provocative to use executive order powers to try to deal with immigration that that's not provocative and that's not a deterrent?
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>> well, but the -- >> you don't think that -- >> the problem came, arguably, in the preceding year, not now. >> okay, well, i would argue that there's enough blame to go on both sides. and i would say that we've missed opportunities on our side to shift the focus away from the argument solely exclusive on controlling the border to how do we shift to an economically-driven immigration system. i think that that's the missed opportunity for republicans. there's no trust anymore that the executive will enforce the law, so we're stuck. and it's a shame. because this is actually the easier thing of the five things that i mention. it is the one that is the least complex where there's less political discord, in my opinion. and it's a huge shame because it's also probably the easiest way to get to sustained economic growth which is what we desperately need. so hopefully, the republicans rather than have their heads
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explode with the president's executive actions which i think are -- i won't, i'm not a lawyer, so i can't say that they're unconstitutional, let's call them extra-constitutional. they're a stretch, they're a stretch way beyond what the executive authority by any other president has been used and the idea that, well, reagan did it, my dad did it, they did it on a much smaller scale, with the concept of congress. there's a lot of differences between what happened back then, 0 years ago, and what happened now -- 30 years ago, and what happened now. this lack of trust makes it harder for it to happen, and it's a shame. >> and is your rob with what the president did -- the prowith what the president did the substance or way he has proposed to do it? >> it's the way, first of all. i don't know the exact details. i mean, frankly, to do something -- he didn't permanently change things because he doesn't have anymore near close to that authority to
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do it. he did it, he extended -- he granted a deferral of the execution of the law for a couple of years. so these people are still in limbo. what we need to do is to get to some certainty for people, 11 million people that are here, 5 million of which he dealt with, we need to find some way surgeon, you know, some certainty to get them some legal status and move to a system that is more economically driven. the system we have today, we're the only country in the world that has spouse, minor children, adult siblings and adult parents as the definition of family. every other country has spouse and minor chirp, that i'm aware of -- children. please don't politifact me, whoever's following this. [laughter] think that's true though. if you narrowed it -- and which is what canada has. if we could emulate the canada model, 13-15% of their immigrants come through family petitioning and 70-75% come for economic purposes based on
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economic need. they actually, believe it or not, canada's sophisticated enough to know where, you know, their shortages of labor are. wow. what a radical innovation to be able to know that. i imagine we could probably figure that out with people in this room alone in the united states. if we had the same system, we narrowed family petitioning and dramatically expanded -- call it an aspirational class where people that could come here and make an immediate impact on our economy, guess what? we would grow at a higher sustained rate. and i don't know why, you know, liberal or conservative or democrat or republican would be opposed to that. >> um, let's talk education for a minute. you -- and, frankly, the last several years we've done this, people in this room raise education a lot as a barrier to economic growth. you've thought about this more than most people have. in your estimation, where did the u.s. education system go off the tracks, and what's the -- at 10,000 feet, what's the way to
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get it back in the direction you think we need to go? >> i think we haven't evolved away from local school districts being the governing model. i'm not suggesting getting rid of them, i'm suggesting getting rid of the monopolistic nature of them. the politicized, unionized, monopolistic nature that puts the economic interests of the adults in the system -- which in many communities in this country is the largest employer, just for those that don't live, you know, like in washington or new york. if you go in temperature or texas or florida -- in tennessee, texas or florida, outside the urban area the number one employer is -- in miami far and away it's the miami-dade school district. so it's got a big economic interest rather than focusing on customizing learning interests so this diverse group of kids gain the power of knowledge. the governance model is designed for the adults rather than the children. and reforming it on the edges
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isn't going to change that. i've lost my patience on this, to be honest with you, because i don't see the change necessary to get to the model that we could get to. if we started from scratch, we wouldn't have this system. we wouldn't have unionized, politicized, government-run monopolies as the means by which children learn. we would have something that would be child-centered, poised for their needs, and we would use technology not just kind of to sell, you know, for vendors to sell computers to school districts which is a great business if you can get it, but have it be at the core of learning where you learn at your own pace at your own time, where time is the variable and learning is the constant rather than 180 days with a little butt in the seat being the means by which the school system is funded whether you learn or not. the constant, you know, the constant is time and the variability is whether you learn. that is a radical, you know,
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departure from where we are, and there's no country in the world that has come close to achieving that. and yet now we have this weird coalition that's protecting the status quo for different reasons, an alliance that is quite powerful politically that doesn't believe, you know, doesn't agree on anything other than we shouldn't be able to, you know, dramatically change how we educate kids. and i think, you know, there is a path. it starts with high standards, but it doesn't end there. it starts with that and empowers parents to make decisions for their children. it argues for the learning experience to be completely customized. where digital learning can occur which requires a big change in how we collectively bargain because, god forbid, if the content is provided by someone in seattle for a student this miami, there's -- in miami, there's all sorts of changes that require bigtime fights politically, and there's not a lot of people on the front lines
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right now. >> speaking of bigtime fights politically, you've been willing to engage in two of those on this front. one of those involves common core standards, obviously, and the second involves testing. you have argued and continue to argue both of those things are part of the answer here. >> sure. well, common core standards or higher standards. so if a state wants to be honest and say that their standards are tenth grade level and they need to raise them so that, you know, look, here's the deal. you all know this because you're concerned about it. in your states where you work, where your employers work, a third of our kids maybe, 40% at best -- and that's, that's only because i'm going to be politifacted. [laughter] 40 percent at best are college or career ready. we spend more per student than any country other than two or three, maybe four at the best. and we have those results? and video beforehand general dempsey talked about 25% pass
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rate. now, that's not just because of the test, that's also because of obesity and too many tattoos, to be honest with you, on, you know, visible body parts for people that are trying to get into the military. but the pass rate for a high school level test to join the mill care is about 35% -- military is about 35% or 40% at best. and these are abysmal numbers. horrific numbers. yet there's no one marching in the streets. there's no one saying, you know, the end is near because of this. but the fact is the end is near if we can't fix this. if we just cast off large numbers of people, young people saying, well, it's their family circumstances, it's poverty. we validate this, we encourage it. we actually, you know, make it more real that it's going to happen more often. and it is a tragedy that i think we should not accept. so high standards as part of this. and how do you -- if you don't
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measure, you really don't care. nonmeasurement is the great, great way to make sure that it doesn't matter, that kids can be cast aside. and so the unions oppose, you know, joel kline is a friend of mine, the former chancellor of the new york school, said republicans oppose national standards, i guess, even though these aren't national standards, but common core standards, and democrats oppose -- actually, republicans oppose national and democrats oppose standards. finish so, you know, there's this coalition now that wants to keep what we have even though people cannot defend the results that we have. so we have to figure out a way to create a new coalition, perhaps more radicalized and with a greater sense of urgency to get to a better place. because all the other things that are doable aren't going to solve a problem of big social strains that are going to happen
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with the have and have nots coming because children haven't gained the power of knowledge. >> let me shift to the washington scene for just a second here. you know, we all gather here at a time of fairly significant way in the way this capitol is going to work. what do you, what do you advise the new republican majority in congress to make their agenda? what ought to be on their to do and, frankly, not to do? >> well, not to do is to focus a lot of energy on things that are not even, you know, just going to create -- make a statement, make a point. i think republicans have gained the majority and increased the paris in the house -- the majority in the house. we don't have to make a point anymore as republicans, we have to actually show that we can in an adult-like way, govern. lead. whether the president signs up for what republicans in congress offer up is up to him.
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it shouldn't be too much of a worry for the republican leadership in congress. they should lead. they should take the things that are possible to achieve, they should try to forge consensus with democrats in the congress, and they should start passing bills. there were 360 or 70 bills that passed the house that never got a hearing, not one hearing, in the senate in this last or soon-to-end congressional cycle. it's unprecedented. it's never happened before that i'm aware of in american history where democracy a was shut down in the senate. now, i think, republicans need to go back to regular order way to allow for bills to be heard, to encourage amendments on the floor, to allow for the debate to take place, to get back to the point where we're starting to complain that the senate is a deliberative body again. because right now no one could claim that. i mean, literally, they do
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nothing. so showing the adult-centered kind of leadership where you start dealing with even if it's not the huge, big things which require presidential action, but it could be the xl pipeline, it could be accelerating on energy, accelerating the leasing of federal lands and waters for exploration. it could be consideration of the lifting of the ban on exports of crude at the appropriate time when we don't have the refining capacity to take on the light crude that's fast, you know, being produced in our country. it could be accelerating the permitting process for lng plants to use the tool to create a better balance of payments situation, more economic activity for our, for the billions of dollars invested and the jobs created in our own country and to deal with the problem of russia as it relates to its blackmail potential over europe because of natural gas.
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there are a lot of things that republicans can do, and i don't think we should worry so much about what the president and how he'll react. my depress is he'll engage. if he -- my guess is he'll engage. if he doesn't, fine. that's his prerogatives. republicans need to show they're not just against things, that they're for a bunch of things, and there's a lot of stuff to be done whether it's on internet protocol or net neutrality or patent protection or tort reform. there's a lot of things that republicans, i think, have ability to garner 60 votes in the senate on. health care reform. not just to repeal obamacare, but to replace it with something that, you know, fits the 23st century -- 21st century work force that we now have. this should be a time of incredible possibility for republicans to be able to show what they believe in. >> well, you were, obviously, a two-term governor, a chief executive, you dealt with lots
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of different legislative combinations. what's your advice to each part of disfunctional relationship in washington, the president on the one hand and to the congress on the other on how to get beyond what everybody agrees has been an unsatisfactory dynamic? >> i think the president has the upper hand here because the presidency is occupied by one person. and the president could change the culture almost immediately if that was his wish. it would require sucking it up a little bit. it would require, you know -- hard. the way i'm sure he views it is that everything that i propose, everything that i believe in, you know, the republicans oppose, and so i'm going to react to that. but he has the upper hand because it's one person that can do it. and the presidency still matters in the country. so whether he does it or not, i'm certainly no expert. i think the leadership of the
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congress is on the right path based on my conversations with them to focus on things that can be done and do them. a budget, first time in five or six years. i know that sounds like a really radical idea. but i think it'll, you know, they'll pass a budget. they'll actually go to committee. they'll talk about the priorities, ask can they'll go through the -- and they'll go through the regular order way next year which we'll be quite hopeful that we get back to a place where people can have different views, and they sort those things out through the process where a budget is created and, hopefully, you know, with chess of a deficit going -- with less of a deficit going forward. and the president can respond to that. and if he engages, i think it'll help his legacy, to be honest with you. but if he doesn't, it's going to set the stage for a '16 election. you republicans, you're for the party of no, we're for progress.
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you can't say that if you're opposed to any action that the congress takes. i think it's a great opportunity for republicans to show what it looks like if conservative leadership gets back into washington. >> okay. you did it, you said 2016. so -- [laughter] as you know, i will have to turn in my white house correspondents' association card if i don't ask you this question. what do you think about 2016 and yourself? >> oh, me personally? >> yeah. >> oh. [laughter] i thought '16's like any other year -- >> kind of like any other year. >> so i'm thinking about running for president, and i'll make up my mind in short order. you know, not that far out into the future. i don't know the exact timeline. it's the same decision making process that i've always had which is can i do it in a way -- do i have the skills to do it in a way that tries to lift people's spirits and not get sucked into the vortex, and is that's not -- that sounds easy,
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it's easy to say, it's harder to do. do i have those skills. and i've got to really do a lot of soul searching to really make that determination. and perhaps more important, can i do it where the sacrifice for my family is tolerable? i mean, every person that runs for office at any level, it's a big sacrifice because it's a pretty ugly business right now. so i'm not saying, oh, woe is me here, don't get me wrong. but there's a level under which i would never subjugate my family because that's my organizing principle. that's my life. and i think people kind of appreciate that. so i'm sorting that out. i don't know if i'd be a good candidate or a bad one. i know, i kind of know how a republican can win whether it's me or somebody else, and it has to be much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to, you know, to be practical now in washington world.
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lose the primary to win the general, it's not an easy task, to be honest are you. >> it's a question that's kind of reverberated through the last couple of republican nominating cycles. are the things you need to do contrary to the the things you need to do to win a general election? >> frankly, no one really knows that because it hasn't been tried recently, so -- [laughter] i mean, my personal opinion is mitt romney would be, would have been and would be a great president right now. i honestly believe that. i think he's a problem solver, his life experience was designed to here's a problem, let's go fix it. put aside, you know, the ideological differences, let's forge con consensus around thisa problem, how cowe go from point a to point b to fix it. i can imagine lots of powerpoint presentations, you know, fixing things.
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[laughter] that would be pretty healthy right now because our government isn't working in a 23st century way. put aside democrat, republican, ideological gaps, it's just not working at the level that you would expect. and it's because we've never transformed how government works with people. every one of your businesses is radically different than it was two years ago, much less five years ago. yet if you walk into the halls of government today in washington, it looks kind of like 1975. and we've got to figure out a way to get to the point of beginning to fix this stuff. and so i think you have to take that risk. >> let me ask you one last question, and then i want to open it up to these good folks. does your gut tell you that the 2016 election, regardless of
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whether you're involved or not, is it about the domestic situation in the u.s. or the u.s. role in the world? >> well, six months ago i would have said it might be a continuation of the focus on domestic issues, because they're big, and they're challenging. but i think there's a growing awareness that we can't withdraw from the world, that there's an unraveling taking place, and it impacts our, not just our security interests, but our economic interests as well. so i do think that foreign policy and maybe a reevaluation of what the role of the united states is in the world will become important. and there are competing forces in both parties to deal with this. i would argue that an engaged america is better for america than a disengaged america. i would argue that a president needs to speak few words, but those words need to be, they need to resonate, they need to be real, they need to be taken to the bank by friends and foe
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alike. i would argue that we need to rebuild our military and our intelligence capabilities. not so much intelligence capabilities, but we need to persuade people that the intelligence capabilities we have keep us safe and they're important. that they're not a violation of civil liberties, but it's a means by which we can be free from the jihadist attacks that are happening and will happen at a greater pace if we continue to retricep. i would argue -- retrench. i would argue that free trade is a foreign policy arrangement because people who trade together and become interdependent in a positive way economically are less likely to create friction in, you know, diplomatically or militarily. so there's a lot of discussion, i think, that needs to be head about what's the proper role for america. republican and democratic presidents alike since world war
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ii have an invigorated sense of leadership. and i think that could become a bigger issue. >> let me see who out there has a question they want to ask. right there, and if you can wait for the microphone, that would be great. >> oh, thank you, governor bush, for your thoughts. trend lines, governor bush, just to go back to the point you touched on a minute ago, trend lines today seem to suggest a time of extraordinary opportunities across all vectors of human enterprise. headlines suggest one of conflict. now, i think as you point out, american leadership is going to be pivotal to whether through cooperation we are able to capitalize on the trend lines or whether we will give away or succumb to the headlines, one of conflict. the question or, rather, i'd be interested in your thoughts on
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can american leadership rise to that occasion? >> absolutely, we can. we've done it time and time again. i think the key to this is to get to a point where foreign policy, where america's leadership in the world is accepted by a great majority of americans is that we're growing economically here first. i mean, if you ask the former head of the joint chiefs of staff or the current one what the great threat for america is, they would say the budget deficit. and the lack of economic opportunity for people. it is not that we're incapable of, you know, defending the sea lanes in southeast asia. which we have the capability of doing. we still have a, you know, military superiority that is while under challenge, it's certainly second to none. so if we started to grow again economically where instead of having declines in median income
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which we've had the first time, i think, in american history where we've had a recession where we've had a decline in median income. instead of having that, we had rising median income where the middle class was more on optimic about their future and their children's future, i think there would be not just an acceptance, but an embrace of a more active, engaged, more than foreign policy. and that would do the work a whole lot of good. but for us, who? i mean, who? who has the capability of providing security and stability in places that are being disrupted by all sorts of changes, cultural, religious, technological. the world is being, you know, disrupted some in good ways and some in really bad ways. we are, but for us there is no sense of stability that allows that transformation to take place in a peaceful way.
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my hope is people are much more optimistic about our role in the world because their, you know, life is getting better. and that sustains a foreign policy that is more naturally suited for the united states which is today, still, the only super power in the world. if we act accordingly, i think we create a more prosperous and secure world. >> right there. >> things like energy and regulation and immigration and tax and education. well, if political realities, political viscosity limited the you to one or two, what would you focus on? [laughter] >> well, i mean, the two easiest
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things, can we do it like so that you're successful, and then you can create a climate where you could be more successful? can i change the question to do that? because it's not, it count work that way where you're just not going to -- you know, you can't ignore these issues. but i would say the two quickest things to jump-start investment in our own country that creates higher wage jobs over a sustained period of time is an energy policy that celebrates this uncorrode bl rev -- incredible revolution that has taken place which is something there should be marching bands for rather than concern about which is the energy renaissance in our own country. and the innovation that is being applied each and every day to make it even more beneficial. so i would say getting out of the way of that and encouraging it to happen at a faster pace.
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and immigration reform which is something that if we could give people confidence we could control our border and shift from a broken immigration system to one that allowed us to have the first 250,000 or 300,000 first round draft picks, the other issues become easier to fix because we're growing, and it's not based on trying to divvy up a smaller pie. so those would be the two things that i think are less politically, believe it or not -- it wouldn't appear that way if you read the news -- but the less politically challenging issues that allow us to get to a place to deal with the bigger issues. now, in the interim, there are possibilities of dealing with some of these issues on a smaller scale, and i think that's what the republicans in congress will do. my guess is there will be efforts to reform corporate taxes, for example, that might deal with the worldwide income challenge, this reverse absurdity. i mean, if we're going to have
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inversion absurdity, it ought to be the other way around. the absurdity ought to be that foreign companies are buying u.s. businesses to relocate here. we should be the beneficiary of absurdity rather than suffering from it. and it could create the chance to bring back $2 trillion of cash. many of the companies in this room, i'm sure, have got cash overseas where it makes no -- your shareholders would punish you. it might be that four-year life expectancy might go to three based on -- [laughter] based on shortsighted policies if we could move to a strategy that allowed us to bring back some of that money at a fixed rate, perhaps you could reduce the deficit and create an infrastructure fund that republicans and democrats would like where you could match it with pension fund money and create a half a trillion dollars of infrastructure monies that could build -- now i'm just
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talking out loud here, this is blue sky stuff, so whoever's going the tweet this, please caveat this. if you had $500 billion and you created 50 projects of national importance of infrastructure, don't you think that that would lift the spirits of america? where bottlenecks would be resolved, where broadband could be brought to every school instead of taxing people more on their cell phones which is the proposal that's in front of the fcc, i believe, right now? there are ways to solve problems in a bipartisan way and get to a point where the complexity of our tax code doesn't retard investment in our own country. so, and that's a small thing. that should be done already. that should have been done, you know, three years ago. and my guess is if the president wants to engage, that's something that the republicans and he could agree on. >> i think we have time for one last question.
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right here. >> governor, maybe just a comment or two on the united states and china and how you see this playing out and what that relationship could evolve to. >> it could evolve to a really ugly place, particularly if we pull back kind of in a permanent fashion. you know, the threat of that is there, and we should be cognizant of it. it also could yield economic benefits if we're fully engaged across the board. i, i thought that hank paulson's efforts to create -- and i think the obama administration's continued this -- to create constant dialogue by sector, private sector as well as government, you know, government -- secretary-to-secretary kind of arrangements where the misunderstandings are lessened is hugely important. i've traveled a lot to china,
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and my last trip was last year. i didn't go -- i actually didn't go this year, i went last year. and every meeting i i had on that trip i believe it was -- or maybe it was the second to last trip -- it was right after the summit between president xi and president obama in palm springs. which, you know, by reading the "wall street journal" which is my newspaper of record -- >> didn't pay him to say that. >> it looked like a good summit to me. every person that i met brought up the fact that mrs. obama wasn't at the summit. , like -- it made no news here because, frankly, you know, i -- so i'm thinking, well, she's a mom. her children are in the white house, for crying out loud. it's a pretty hard existence. maybe she had to do what we did
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for our kids in seventh or eighth grade, the science project with them. there was normal, motherly things that she had to do, and that's the american way. but the chinese didn't view it that way. they viewed it as an insult to their very glamorous first lady. so it's very -- when you have such big cultural differences, and if you've had experience in china, you know this much better than me, you have to be completely immersed, completely engaged to eliminate the stupid things from creating problems because there's going to be big things that are going to create problems. they'll disagree with our actions, and we'll disagree with them. and i think that ought to be the first effort, is to have full, comprehensive engagement. you can't ignore china as it emerges as a world power. and then the second thing i would say is that if you reach that point where there's a level of trust that is high, and i'm
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not an expert to know where we stand today in that regard, then we ought to encourage china to take a leadership role in helping solve global problems. everything on their foreign policy can't be about simply their economic interests. they need to play a constructive role in a lot of different ways that today they don't feel compelled to do. so, but i know for a fact retrenching will create huge economic hardships for both sides. and perhaps as china grows militarily and asserts itself in the region, you'd have something far worse than that. >> governor bush, we're out of time. i think this conversation and the one earlier with christine lagarde helped set up all the conversations tomorrow, and
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appreciate very much you being here. and we're grate. to you for helping us get launched this way. >> thanks for the invite. [applause] >> that interview from earlier this month. the news today that former governor jeb bush announcing that he will actively explore a run for president in 2016. the younger brother of the 43rd president is considered a leading candidate for the republican nomination. the u.s. senate is trying to wrap up the 113th congress with votes on a number of president obama's executive and judicial branch nominations. the senate in recess for weekly party lunches, they'll return at 2:15 p.m. eastern and voting on sarah saldana's nomination to serve as the head of i.c.e.. follow the senate live when they gavel back in at 2:15 eastern or
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so here on c-span2. and ahead of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases, dr. anthony fauci speaks about the latest efforts at creating an ebola vaccine. it's hosted by the center for strategic and international studies. that's live at 3 eastern, and that's over on c-span today. >> this month is the tenth anniversary of our sunday prime time program, "q&a," and we're featuring an encore presentation of one "q&a" from each year highlighting authors, journalists, historians, and leading public policy think ors. from 2005, kenneth feinberg's interview, lonnie bunch on the importance of the african-american experience to american history. from 2007, robert novak. from 2008, the value of higher education in america. and from 2009, conservative commentator s.e. cupp.
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"q&a," at 7 p.m. aaron on c-span. >> google executive chair eric schmidt was interviewed at a recent conference on surveillance. he talked about privacy concernsover data collection and how google has worked to regain user trust. this conference was hosted by the cato institute, and we'll show you as much as we can until the senate gavels back in at 2:15 eastern. prison -- [applause] >> thank you all for coming, and thank you to to our tv audience on c-span. this is an incredibly impressive group of people that the cato institute has put together today. some of the most, you know, most august minds in the legal, policy making, journalistic circles. so i'm very honored to be here and very pleased dr. schmidt has
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found time in his schedule to talk about surveillance. >> and thank you guys for having me, this is an incredibly important conversation. >> great. just so you know, i'm going to ask a few questions. about halfway through, i'm hoping to open up the floor to questions, so this is your opportunity. so for now i'll start off here. so when "the washington post" first learned that the nsa was tapping the links between data centers for google around the world, some of our reporters showed a diagram of how this worked from some of your engineers who responded with a fuselage of words webbed not print in -- we could not print in our family newspaper. [laughter] i was wondering if you could tell us exactly how you learned this was happening and what your first thoughts were at the time. >> so, as best we can tell is the gchq, which is the british arm of the five is had put sniffers or the equivalent of
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sniffers on traffic between the data centers of google. google has a very large private data network that moves the data around in complicated and powerful ways. it's why google works so well, and it's a massive, amazing technical achievement from google's perspective. i read it in the washington pose. in "the washington post". and i was shocked because jared cohen and i had written a book which talked about this being possible, and people had hinted that it was possible to do this by monitoring light fiber, although i think the mechanisms are probably classified. we obviously didn't know. but the fact that it had been done so directly and documented in the documents that were leaked was really a shock to the company. >> so here we are, we're more than a year later from that day. we're about a year and a half from the original snowden revelations, and the morgan stanley high-tech 35 index is up 20%, right? google remains one of the most
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massively profitable companies in the world. so has there been real damage to to you or to the industry or to us more broadly? >> well, there's been damage sort of at many levels. and let's start by staying that -- by saying that if you're a european right now, you're less likely to trust an american firm to retain your data. maybe you should have always been less likely, but now as a result of these revelations, you're less likely. as a company, what google did is we massively encrypted our internal systems using the tech people in the audience, end description that's 2048 bits long and for the nontechnical i'll just describe that 2048 is much larger than the original 1024, it's about twice as big, it's many, many times bigger. and it's generally viewed that this level of encryption is unbreakable in our lifetimes by
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any human beings in any way. we'll see if that's really true. but i today believe that if you have important information, the safest place to keep it is in google. and i can awe sure you the safest -- assure you the safest place not to keep it is anywhere else because of the levels of attacks. first the chinese attack, then later the nsa, gchq, whatever you want to call it attack. so it has affected our relations, and in particular conversations in europe where people are very sensitive to this. it's also caused us to tighten every procedure within our system is. within our system. so we're just a lot safer. >> so assuming there is a cost, a financial cost or moral cost, who do you blame for that, the u.s. government or edward snowden? >> well, i'd like to offer a rule of sort of surveillance life which just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should do something. and the fact of the matter is
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that all of the technologies that we're describing are capable of massive, you know, in the hands of the wrong person, violations of people's privacy. everyone here has a mobile phone, everyone is on a data network, the phone knows exactly where it is because of e-911 services. the fact of the matter is all of that information could be misused. so i think the snowden sort of set of incidents including your coverage and all of the other things have, essentially, sort of caused people to, maybe the nontechnical people understand that there's a great deal of data being collected about you that's benign, but nevertheless could be misused in the wrong hands. so as an example, i would offer a rule for governments which is that if you collect data in a database, you better be sure you know what that data's going to be used for, and you better make sure it doesn't get leaked. because along way technological opportunities have allowed for
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large bulk leaking. the pentagon papers leaks, people would copy documents. but now an opponent, if you will, can take the equivalent of usb sticks and download a large amount of data in a very short period of time. and it's true for everyone in every country, you know, so forth. so you want to be careful about collecting this data and not misusing it. i was part of a white house task force that looked into a technical side of this. we were not on the policy side. and the question was, can metadata be misused? and the answer we came back with is, yes. metadata -- that is, information about the data as opposed to the data itself -- can, using complicated and powerful algorithms, can it be misused, right? so that's why the industry and particularly google, but all the other countries -- companies, excuse me, oppose the u.s. 215 stuff, because although the
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government claimed that that was not a misuse of the data, our argument is that the metadata itself could be misused. and these are learnings that the country has to now know sort of forever. >> i feel like you answered the u.s. government part of it. you hold them to account. edward snowden, year and a half later, how does it look? >> it's interesting, depending on who you ask in america, you get a different answer. turns out the same with julian assange who's busy attacking google and me at the moment. if you -- if there's a stereotype, if you talk to the east coasters, east coasters tend to view these things in very, very negative context. west coasters, again, these are generalizations, there are always exceptions, tend to view it much more in a libertarian view. i'll let the courts decide on those questions. we clearly do not want to encourage bulk data leaking. imagine, again, think of all the databases that exist about us,
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all of you, health records, tax records, where you are, what you're doing, all that kind of stuff, it's not good for society to encourage people to do that. on the other hand, his disclosures were helpful in shining the light on these practices that certainly people like myself and maybe you didn't know existed. we knew they were possible. especially when it starts to monitor data traffic between google servers where they're clearly monitoring traffic for people who are in the u.s. which is, as i understand -- and i'm not a lawyer -- is not their mission. >> so the response from the tech industry to the snowden relations have been fairly clear. lawyers for the company would be much tougher in court about turning over data. >> sure. >> the response from the u.s. government a little less clear, i think, a little more muddied at this point. i'm curious if you were to give your industry a grade, a-f, for how it has responded --
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>> i'm proud of our industry's response because we knew that encryption was powerful, and tool l was -- there's a set of things that we do. it's not just the 2048 encryption. for example, e-mail systems talk to each other. gmail, for example, is all encrypted. but what happens when the e-mail goes from server a to server b? turns out there's a protocol which the industry has now agreed to which will maintain the encryption. the try as a unit, right, acted to protect its users' interests and the data is all legal. i'd say that the government's response has been fairly clear, and i'll tell a story. in 1995 louie freeh was the fbi director, i believe. and we had the first of one of these. and it was a meeting in dianne feinstein's office which were the ceos of the time. i was at novell, and the people
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who were there were steve case, bill gates, myself, a few others. and we had the public safety people, right? serious people trying to do the right thing including louie freeh and the director of the nsa, and she asked them to report on the dangers of all of this. and what they wanted was they wanted the trap door. they wanted the trap door, the -- this was simulated after the v-chip, the idea that the government could, you know with a warrant or some mechanism go in there and watch all the e-mail traffic. and i remember distinctly sitting there listening to these presentations and saying virtually all criminals now use e-mail, right? and what we want to do is we want to be able to watch e-mail. now, our industry -- and i remember the meeting, we snuck out the back door because we were not allowed to talk to the press, and off we went. this is 20 years later, exactly the same conversation. and the problem with the government request is it'd be great if you're the government to have a trap door, but how do we know that the other
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government's not taking over the trap door from you? and we can't prove and we're not endorsing this notion of a u.s. trap door. which is precisely what the public safety people would like. our argument, which i think is very clear now and it's true lout the industry, is that the government has so many ways, and properly so, by the way, to go in what we call the front door. they're called warrants, okay? they're called good police work. they're called fitting the perpetrator in the desk with the guy in the front. you see this in movies. and just because you could put a trap door in does not mean that you do for all of the unintended consequences of it. >> so you raise an interesting point with the warrants. you all were clearly particularly aggrieved because you had a front door, the nsa was availing itself of the -- >> by the way, we did not intend to put a back door in, right? >> got it. >> there isn't a back door.
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the house only has front doors. >> right. so we've seen google and a lot of other companies do these big encryption initiatives. there's like a new wave of encryption that momentum even have a front door to it -- that doesn't even have a front door to it. apple has done this with imessage and facetime. i'm curious what you think of these encryption initiatives that actually lock out the government entirely where the company can't open door, and i'm curious if we're going to see that with any google products. >> met me not preannounce -- let me not preannounce any google products here. let me simply say it has been known for a long time, we wrote this in our book, that encryption in the hands of individuals is very empowering. and encryption is an incredibly empowering tool in repressive ree screams. but it also does allow people who are evil or nasty to communicate bilaterally. the good news is these systems
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are not that easy to use, use, d wee argue in the -- we argue in the book that you're probably winning when the evil person is using a cell phone because, trust me, if those cell phones -- if you're a government trying to find them, you can find them because cell phones emit where they are. and, indeed, this is how osama bin laden was tracked down through, ultimately, through cell phone tapping, according to the report. so i'm not as sensitive to the argument that this is the only way to solve this problem. it is a fact, right, that powerful encryption has been around for, since 1975 when it was invented by hellmund. and because of, in my view, the overreach of perhaps well-intentioned but ultimately flawed strategies, this encryption capability is becoming more and more available. >> and so would you, do you like these kinds of services that actually are encrypted so
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thoroughly that the companies themselves can't get into them? do you think this is a good idea or a terrible idea for the reasons you mentioned? >> you're asking me sort of an emotional question as opposed to a factual question. >> either one. >> the fact that the kind of stuff you're talking about has been possible for many, many years. >> right. >> and the thing that has held it back has been key management, the ability to handle the keys. but because of what government did, all of those services are getting a lot easier. so my opinion is that you'll with see more and more of these essentially proxied, cloaked and otherwise communication systems. historically, if you go back to small towns of the world 200, 900 years ago, there was no anonymity like that. so you worry that could be misused, and you never want it to be misused. on the other hand, i would say that in every case remember the person is doing this with a device that itself can be followed or what have you if they are a legitimate danger to
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society. if it's an e mill terrorist, you can -- evil terrorist, you can find that phone. >> so it sounds like you'd like to see the front door, the proper court door remain open to. >> well, i have my own issues with the patriot act. one of the great strengths of america has been an independent court system, proper balance of rights and individuals. and i'll give you an example. and i'm not advocating this, so please don't say this. we can end, essentially, all crime in this city in a are short period of time except for emotional crime. that is, you know, spur of the moment crime by massive surveillance. now, we should not do this. other countries may choose to do that. the fact that you can do it, the fact that you can, for example, put cameras on every street corner and do face detection which, indeed, is what's happening in britain, is not something we can do. so you want to be careful about
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these tools. they can with very seriously -- they can be very seriously misused. and that kind of mass surveillance is completely counter to what the american constitution is. >> so about a year ago the washington post polled on how people felt about surveillance, and you will not be surprised that 66% of americans expressed concern that the nsa was oversurveiling. we also polled on private companies, and 69% of americans expressed concern that google was surveilling. >> okay, which we are not. >> but hope -- >> the good news about that question is you can ask me, and i can answer it definitively. the answer is no. >> you do collect data. >> data shows up in the normal course of operations. >> right, it's central to your business model, fair? >> that's fine. >> okay. so for those americans who are concerned in a way that's in roughly similar numbers, what can you say to them about google
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and the way private sector collection works -- >> as a general statement, i think that people are very concerned about privacy. and i think that the recent illegal disclosures of personal information and photos, the sony attack, jennifer garner attacks, all that kind of stuff, heightened the sense that there's this thing that is out of control and dangerous. so the average person, right, who i occasionally encounter a normal person in my industry. so the normal person says i just don't understand this, i'm worried about it, why can't you get this fixed? we're working on that. so i think a lot of these questions really come back to am i safe on the internet, am i about to be attacked by a virus, is my personal information about to be disclosed to everyone and so forth and so on? google has a series of answers to that. i also think that's what's driving a lot of the concerns in europe. people are correctly worried that incredibly important information about them, to them,
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private information will somehow get released. so in google's case we have a whole bunch of mechanisms. we have a page which will allow you to control what we retain about you. and i invite you to take a look at it. there's also a way in chrome to browse called incog knee toe browsing -- incognito browsing where no information of any kind is maintained. and those are publicly -- anyone can use them. good people, bad people, can't tell if they're good or bad people, whatever. they've been around a long time. so part of my answer to the question of google's role here is we do need to maintain a certain amount of information to allow our systems to work, but unlike others, we make it very easy to delete that, mask it or change it entirely. >> google now makes one of the most popular browsers in the world. we know that our government collects zero days against all manner of potentially useful
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targets. google's put some money into figuring out where the zero days may be in its project with project zero. how do you feel about your government with your tax money potentially gathering and using zero days against your own products? is there an arms race on here between the companies and the government? >> and the u.s. senate is gaveling back in. a reminder, you can see this event in our video library at nomination votes coming up this afternoon on the senate floor. live coverage on c-span2.
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the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call. mr. carper: all right. very well. then i won't ask unanimous consent. but i would ask to be recognized. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: thank you. madam president, i rise today to urge my colleagues to vote in a few minutes to confirm sarah
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saldana to assistant secretary for immigration and customs enforcement. a number of our friends have come to the floor opposing ms. saldana's nomination, but incredibly enough i haven't heard them question her qualifications. their opposition appears to be in response to the president's decision to bring five million hardworking immigrants out of the shadows this month. let me say as one member of the senate, we can quarrel about the timing and we can quarrel about the policy. i think for the most part the policy in the president's proposal is good. do i wish we had done it as a body? i wish we had done our jobs? you bet i do. but i wish the president delayed the announcement until a little bit later this year. he didn't. and so that's where we are. that's where we are. whether you like the president's executive order or not, it is about today whether we take our
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responsibilities seriously to ensure federal agencies have the leadership they need to operate efficiently and effectively. the single-most important ingredient of any agency, whether it is a governmental organization, whether it's a sports team or a school, business, whatever it might be, the single-most important ingredient to the success of that entity is leadership, is leadership. and this is an agency that we're talking about filling a big gap in leadership and immigration and customs enforcement. we call it i.c.e. it's a critical law enforcement agency within the department of homeland security. it has been without a presidentially appointed leader now for more than 16 months. more than 16 months. that is far too long, particularly when we consider all the issues we face along our borders and the more than 400 laws that this agency, immigration and customs enforcement enforces. the agency plays a critical role
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in securing our borders. they take dangerous criminals off the streets. they send them back to their own countries in many instances. in fact, on any given day i.c.e. arrests some 370 criminal aliens in the interior of our country. they have some 34,000 people in detention in this country. they remove nearly 500 criminal aliens from our country every day. every day all that happens. managing such a large agency with one of the most complex missions in federal government is a tall, tall order. this mission is made all the harder when the agency is forced to go month after month without permanent leadership. immigration and customs enforcement have the unfortunate distinction of finishing last in the annual survey of employee morale among federal agencies. that's right, actually not last. they were tied for last. how many agencies were, where the employees really were questioned about whether or not they were satisfied with their
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work or not, they finished last out of not 100, not 200, not 300 but out of 314 agencies. when i visited the agency recently employees told me that one of the biggest frustrations was the lack of senate confirmed leadership. lack of senate confirmed leadership. thankfully this is one problem we can remedy and we can remedy it today. ms. saldana is a true american success story. she rose from beginnings in south texas as the youngest of the seven children. she went on to become an accomplished partner at major law firm. she is now one of the nation's top law enforcement officers. she couldn't be more qualified to lead immigration and customs enforcement. don't take my word for it. one of our good friends here in the senate, senator john cornyn, the senior senator from texas, felt strongly enough about her qualifications that he was good enough and introduce ms. saldana at her confirmation hearing before the committee i chair and that the presiding officer
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serves on, the committee on homeland security and government affairs. senator cornyn told us that day that she was highly qualified, fiercely independent and served his state with honor. here's what he said "with respect to the law, the rule of law is our standard and i think it should be, we would be hard pressed to find a person more qualified to enforce the law than ms. saldana." his comments. that's high praise, and i couldn't agree more. nevertheless, senator cornyn and some of his colleagues now oppose sarah saldana's nomination not because she's unqualified, not because she doesn't work hard, not because she doesn't have good values, but because she'll have to carry out the president's recent executive order on immigration. that may be understandable; i think it's also unfortunate. it doesn't punish the president to leave this position unfilled. it doesn't just punish the employees to leave this position unfilled. in the end it punishes the
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citizens of this country. it makes it harder for immigration and customs enforcement to accomplish its critical mission of helping to secure our borders. it makes it harder to do their job in terms of taking dangerous criminals off of our streets. and it hurts the men and women at i.c.e. who deserve a leader to ensure this important agency runs as effectively as possible. i believe that the president acted within the bound, and i know not everyone agrees with me on this but i believe the president acted within the bound of the law in announcing his executive action. while i may quarrel with the timing of it, i also feel very deeply that we not in this body but in the other body, the other side of the capitol, we've done our job with respect to immigration reform; we wouldn't have this dust up today on this nomination. whether you agree with me or not opposing ms. saldana's nomination will do nothing to oppose what the president has done. nothing. i said it before and will say it again it is irresponsible for us to leave a critical agency like
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this without a proven leader. it's been more than 16 months t. shouldn't be another month or two or three. i hope ms. saldana, the first hispanic woman and second woman to be grated to immigration and customs enforcement does not fall victim to politics here in the united states senate. she's by all accounts exactly what this critical agency needs. proven leader, respect and member of the law enforcement community. i urge all my colleagues, democrat, republican and even the two independents that are here with us serving their states, i urge you to support her. i'm proud to do that today. thank you, madam president.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of sarah r. saldana of texas to be assistant secretary of homeland security, signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: the question is, is it the sense of the senate that the debate on the nomination of sarah r. saldana of texas to be an assistant secretary of homeland security shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. and the clerk will call the roll. vote:


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